The following excerpt from Secretary of State John Kerry's speech yesterday at the climate talks in Lima, Peru, explains very well that dealing with climate change is a "win-win" situation -- maintaining a habitable planet while stimulating enormous economic growth by switching from dirty to clean energy. As Secretary Kerry put it, it's time to "make a transition towards clean energy the only policy that you’ll accept." We couldn't agree more.
In economic terms – bottom line, in economic terms, this is not a choice between bad and worse, not at all. This is a choice between growing or shrinking your economy. And what we don’t hear enough of is the most important news of all, that climate change presents one of the greatest economic opportunities of all time on earth.
I said earlier that the solution to climate change is as clear as the problem. It’s here. The solution is energy policy. Well, let’s take a look at that.
The global energy market of the future is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known. The market which grew the United States of America during the 1990s, when we had unprecedented wealth creation – more wealth creation in America in the 1990s than in the 1920s, when we had no income tax and you’ve heard of the names of Rockefeller and Carnegie and Mellon and so forth – more was created in the 1990s. Every quintile of our income earners went up in their income. Guess what? It was a $1 trillion market with one billion users. It was the computer, high-tech mobile device.
The energy market today is a $6 trillion dollar market with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it’s going to go up to that 9 billion users. By comparison, if you looked at the differential, this is an opportunity to put millions of people to work building the infrastructure, doing the transition, and pulling us back from this brink.
Between now and 2035, investment in the energy sector is expected to reach nearly $17 trillion. And that’s without us giving some of the price signals that we ought to be giving to the marketplace to make this transition. That’s more than the entire GDP of China and India combined. Imagine the opportunities for clean energy innovation. Imagine the businesses that could be launched, the jobs that’d be created, in every corner of the globe.
The only question is are we going to do it fast enough to make the difference. The technology is out there. Make no mistake, it’s out there now. None of this is beyond our capacity... Make a transition towards clean energy the only policy that you’ll accept...